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Judas Priest - "Sad Wings Of Destiny, 1976 (re-release)"
Snapper Music 1998

After band's appearance on Reading Festival in 1975 and some promising words in newspaper about the presence of newly arrived young challenging band, Judas Priest got a new kick to continue what they've started. "Sad Wings Of Destiny", band's second studio album, was offering quite new rockin' experience. If "Rocka Rolla" sounded very cliché, than "Sad Wings Of Destiny" means an absolute change in style directions. It is a record with far expressive overall dramatic mood waving. Priest offered much more music in comparison with debut album. Sound in production was also improved. Not to mention overall work of band's members and lyrical expression. John Hinch was replaced once again with Alan Moore. Moore was better skilled. It is obvious especially in mellower parts of songs where he shows more sophistication and feeling for adopting to band's music. Twin guitar work got more round shaped, K.K. and Glenn served some fantastic fluid hooks, expressive strong heavy edged riffs, and great soloing parts. Rob Halford turned from conventional singer into unique screamer of his own. His personality grew stronger in terms of self confidence and this was very important for "Sad Wings Of Destiny", because Judas Priest were now with their overall improvement and perpetual change towards better able to fully convince masses that they can expect a lot in future from this young promising band. Only problem was that Gull Record was very small record label and promotion of the band was very weak. So people weren't aware of band's new studio album being released. Even worse, they didn't know about band's existence. Very sad but true, band members ended after album's release on the edge of survivor and were forced to find jobs.

Album opens with Victim Of Changes. It shows enthusiastic face of the band. This song is assembled on more complex way, which can be understand still as an absolute freedom in songwriting of seventies era when everybody truly lived rock culture and were able to materialize all desires via their musical creativity. Judas Priest didn't know even in their wildest dreams where are they headed in the future. So now in this very presence when somebody speaks out magic words "Judas Priest album", we would usually expect that certain JP album will open with simple but aggressive stark heavy riff, that immediately make you wanna "twist". But Victim Of Changes isn't that kind of song. It catches many diverse moods and carries strong atmospheric peak in it's balladic middle part and than also in aggressive closing section via Halford's angry soars. The Ripper is song that was written to be a hit, again having in mind we are looking on Priest through eyes of presence. Not intentionally, but the way how it is put together. This would be a hit if Judas Priest would had a contract with bigger recording label in their pocket. Never mind, fans who discovered "Sad Wings Of Destiny" later when band got a big name on a rock scene, received this song with great respect. The Ripper opens through evil twin guitar theme, it contains Halford's constant vocal acrobatics, fluid passages, and is based on a very simple and therefore highly effective motives. This is song where everything fits perfectly together. Priest wanted to sound here scary, and they succeeded. Dream Deciever changes the atmosphere of a record. Beginning is acoustic and guitar wanted to sound almost like flamenco at one moment. Than in its second part band rises some noise and song turns into pure electric attack that flows directly into heavy striker Deciever, which is fantastic continuum in terms of being perfectly chosen counter point to Dream Deciever.

What was already discussed in beginning of this review is probably on most beautiful way shown in song Tyrannt. How band's riffs were growing bigger and sound too. This song once again shows perfect combination of aggression and melody. Again thankfully to twins K.K. and Glenn and aforementioned Rob's far self reliant soulful singing approach. This song is as a composition that perhaps represents among all track from this record on the best way musical directions of a band that were further to follow at the end of seventies. Nice velocity and rumbling rocking drive of a band comes even more to life in Genocide, which does not include so many melodic hooks as Tyrant. Listener got that impression after being merely focused on more or less heavy sharp edged riffing through song.

Epitaph is probably a major change of pace from the rest of the album with Glenn's piano and Rob's vocals both being pivotal in song. Nice moody song that unpredictably turns into raw ending ride called Island Of Domination. It is great closing song with excellent guitar work and Rob's joyful singing showing again his amazing talents.

As an album "Sad Wings Of Destiny" is highly important for the band. They made a major step forward. Not only it radiates more confident vibes and that production and sound got bigger, but it also shows further directions of band's musical expression. This is a record where Judas Priest abandoned word cliché forever. This album shows that guys were getting tighter as a unit and that they slowly find themselves on a same page and began to fight for the same goal.

Author:   Ale¹

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